1. The goal of this assignment is to gain depth of understanding of the ways that Treaties have come to be understood through Indigenous and non-Indigenous representations.

The land that is now Canada was colonized east to west and treaty making began in the east with what are known as peace and friendship treaties. These treaties are generally about military alliances and sometimes hunting and fishing practices, many remain significant today. They did not involve any land concessions.

There are many types of treaties and they changed as pressure to acquire land for settlement grew. Chronologically, the peace and friendship treaties came first, then the Two-Row Wampum and Treaty of Niagara, the Robinson-Huron, Robinson-Superior Treaties, to what are called the numbered treaties as settlers expanded westward to the plains. Over time and through population growth of settlers and population decimation of Indigenous Peoples, settlers stopped making treaties altogether and began an outright occupation.

Recent treaties focus on attempts to address some of the inequities caused by the initial treaties or to address outstanding land claims.

This means that you will not be able to find media representation of all the Treaties. For the purposes of our discussion, you may want to select one of the following:  

Two-Row Wampum (1613)

Robinson-Huron Treaty (1850)

Robin-Superior Treaty (1850)

The Toronto Purchase – Treaty No 13 (1805)

The Nisga’a Final Agreement 2000

For this assignment you can either choose a Treaty from the list above, or from the course content to discuss, or you may briefly describe the Treaty that you are situated in (https://www.ontario.ca/page/map-ontario-treaties-and-reserves):

Choose 2 media representations of this Treaty and comment on each in these ways:

  1. Summarize the history of how the Treaty came to be signed. (Please include both the settler and Indigenous versions of this story). (4 marks)
  2. What type of platform are each of your media choices and who is the “storyteller” in each? (4 marks)
  3. Who is saying what, to whom, for what purpose and to whose benefit? To answer this question, describe the perspectives of both media in terms of depth of information, clarity about colonialism, and presence of bias. (6 marks)

Consider the following questions:

  1. What is the Indigenous Nations’ grievance with that Treaty?
  2. How do these Treaties contribute to our collective understanding of how Indigenous People are treated? 
  3. Can you identify a power differential?
  4. Please comment overall (with an example) in terms of two of the following aspects of personal learning for you: a) something you believed is now debunked b) an aspect of colonialism has benefited you, or c) new information has empowered you. (6 marks)

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